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ED Quizzes Raj Thackeray in Money Laundering Case; Friends, Foes, Cousin Uddhav Rally Behind

The senior leaders of the Congress, NCP, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Lok Bharati, and AAP, along with senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, have also spoken out in support of Raj Thackeray.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18@vinivdvc

Updated:August 22, 2019, 7:08 PM IST
ED Quizzes Raj Thackeray in Money Laundering Case; Friends, Foes, Cousin Uddhav Rally Behind
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray leaves for Enforcement Directorate office from his residence, in Mumbai, Thursday, Aug 22, 2019.

Mumbai: While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray continues to be probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his involvement in the Kohinoor Square land case, several leaders have come out in his support. Among those who rallied behind the MNS leader is his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, who stated that the ED probe will reveal nothing.

The MNS leader reached the ED office around 11.30am on Thursday, accompanied by wife Sharmila, son Amit, and daughter-in-law Mitali. After Raj Thackeray entered the office alone, his family members camped at a nearby hotel.

The senior leaders of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Lok Bharati, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have also spoken out in support of Raj Thackeray, along with senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

“Raj Thackeray presented himself before the authorities. This is important. He did not run away from it. Uddhavji has said that the probe will continue for two days, and he will come out of it. This statement came out of the love for a brother. The Thackerays have strong family bonds,” Raut said.

The Shiv Sena is a partner of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra and the Centre. Raj Thackeray, on the other hand, had campaigned against the BJP during the Lok Sabha polls.

Raj Thaackeray appeared before the ED here on Thursday morning. The central agency is probing loans and equity infusion by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) into Kohinoor CNTL, a real estate venture in which the MNS chief had a stake for some time.

Raj Thackeray, along with Unmesh Joshi, is also being probed by the ED in the Kohinoor Square case. Unmesh Joshi is the son of former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi.

Several senior leaders from the Congress and the NCP accused the government of muzzling the voices of dissent. They claimed that Raj Thackeray was being probed because he showed the courage to question the government.

NCP leader Supriya Sule said, “This is politics of vengeance. I had never seen such politics. How does this happen at the cusp of the elections? And how does it happen when you question the government? This is muzzling democracy’s voice.”

Extending his support to Thackeray, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti, said he was being targeted for raising a voice against electronic voting machines (EVMs).

“He was the one who met Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi. He garnered support for a movement against the EVMs. That is what hurt the government the most. The government is stung. That is why it has gone after him,” Shetti said.

Kapil Patil, president of the Lok Bharati, tweeted on Thursday, “I went and met Raj Thackeray today. It is important to stay with him during such difficult times. All the rational and mature people of Maharashtra will stand with him. In a democracy, opposition’s voice should be respected, and not given an ED notice.”

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